Thanks to Kyle McCormick for the highlights from Washington’s 77-69 win over Arizona State.
The Huskies were exceptional at times, sloppy at others and ultimately they survived a late scare and got a much needed victory to set up Saturday’s big showdown against Arizona.
Coach Lorenzo Romar was displeased with Washington’s second-half performance particularly when it was outscored 43-33 and allowed ASU to trim a commanding 24-pointn lead to 11 with 11:27 left.
Still the Huskies did more than enough to win. They forced 19 turnovers for 30 points. They shot 61.3 percent in the first half and 49.2 for the game, which is a big improvement from the past two games. They also shot 73 percent (11 of 15) at the line and made eight three-pointers, which is the most in the past nine games.
Still this wasn’t close to Washington’s best game.
The Huskies allowed the Sun Devils to shoot 58.3 percent in the second half. They put ASU on the line 21 times and were fortunate the Sun Devils only made 11. And Washington made careless turnovers, especially in the first half when it had 10 of its 15.
Regardless of the mistakes, the Huskies managed to sweep the season series against ASU and remain in first place with four games left.
“That was a tale of two halves,” Romar said. “I thought we were, with the exception of too many turnovers in the first half, really, really efficient.
“In the second half, it appeared we lost focus. We didn’t handle that lead as well as we should have. I don’t like the way we finished the game but we came up with another victory. So, we’re one step closer to finishing this up the right way.
MORE NOTES, QUOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:
— C.J. Wilcox came off the bench and gave Washington 14 points on 6-for-11 shooting. He was 2 of 6 on three-pointers and it’s interesting to note Wilcox hasn’t made more than two three-point shots in a game since he came back from a three-game layoff due to a upper left leg stress fracture. Tonight was the seventh game since he returned. Feels like every basket Wilcox made was important, including the breakaway dunk off of a steal in the first half.
Abdul Gaddy on Wilcox: “It was good to see him knocking down shots–that’s what he does best. It was good to see him mobile out there and he will be like that for the rest of the season. I mean, we need him. We need him to win games.”
— Terrence Ross had a quiet 18 points and five rebounds in 30 minutes. Strange, but true. He was remarkably efficient on three-pointers and connected on 4 of 8 behind the arc. Still I think his best play was when he chased down a long rebound and threw the ball off of a ASU player as he was falling out of bounds.
— In many ways, Tony Wroten Jr. set the tone with his defense. He whiffed on a few defensive gaffes, but also made amends with six steals. Wroten was as his best defensively in the first half when he helped create three turnovers on four possessions. Offensively, Wroten was hit or miss as well. He had four assists and four turnovers although Aziz N’Diaye mishandled a point-blank pass beneath the rim. Wroten scored 13 points, shot 4 of 8 from the field and 5 of 8 on free throws.
— N’Diaye had his left wrist heavily taped and he injured his knee, which forced him out of the game for a several minutes in the first half. He returned and played 24 minutes, but he’s a little banged up. Still he finished with 12 points, three off of his career best. And he did it against ASU’s two seven footers, Jordan Bachynski and Ruslan Pateev.
— Gaddy logged 34 minutes and finished with a career-high tying eight assists. He allowed Jonathan Gilling to get free for two three-pointers early in the game, but otherwise played solid defensively. Gaddy looked to direct the offense and his only basket was a three-pointer. He shot 1 for 2 from the field.
“We played well the first half and then played bad the second half. It’s simple really. We didn’t play as physical as the first half; we just got boards and stats really. (We) Tried to get the game over with. We need to mature better and handle success better.
“It was surprising because we were doing so much better than that. We just need to make sure that gets better before Saturday. It’s hard because you can’t just turn the switch on like that all the time, and for us to do that, it was immature of us, but we can bounce back from it. We’ve done it before.”
— Darnell Gant scored all nine of his points during a three-minute stretch late in the first half. He also had all five his rebounds before the break. Gant played eight minutes in the second half, but he attempted just one shot. His signature moment of the game was a putback dunk just before halftime.
“My teammates are always clownin’ on me about not being able to jump off of one foot, and I got a one-foot dunk and just tried to get a little extra on it,” he said.
— Desmond Simmons still isn’t shooting particularly well, but it appears as if he’s coming out of his funk. And he’s doing it by focusing on rebounding. Simmons led the Huskies with six boards and his only basket came on a putback. He also had three offensive rebounds and an emphatic block in the first half.
— When Shawn Kemp Jr. gets the ball, good things tend to happen. He either dunks or draws a foul. Tonight he did both. He flushed a jam late in the game and he was 2 for 2 at the line. Kemp finished with six points in 11 minutes.
— Reserves Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Hikeem Stewart, Martin Breunig, Alex Wegner and Brendan Sherrer each saw time in the blowout. Seferian-Jenkins was the only one who played in the first half and got on the court while N’Diaye was inside the locker room tending to his knee injury.
Sherrer drew the biggest ovation from the crowd, which might have watched him play for the last time at Hec Ed. Not sure if he’ll start or make it off the bench Saturday. If this was his last appearance in a home game, then he made the most of his moment. Sherrer got the ball late in the game and airballed a three-pointer that looked to be online, but fell short. Gaddy said he should have faked the three and dribbled in for a dunk. If that was Sherrer’s last game, the former Dawg Pack member finished his three-year UW career with 11 points on 4-for-11 shooting and seven rebounds in 29 games.